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Senator Omtatah Opposes the Proposed Relocation of Busia Stadium

Busia County, Senator Okiya Omtatah has raised his voice against the proposed relocation of Busia Stadium to the Busia Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) grounds.


The Senator, known for his advocacy for public involvement in decision-making processes, has cited a lack of public participation as his primary concern.

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Omtatah, in a letter dated October 16, addressed to the county’s chief officer for Youth, Sports, and Gender, Saviour Panyako, expressed his dissatisfaction with the handling of the matter.

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah. PHOTO/Courtesy
Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah. PHOTO/Courtesy

He emphasized that public participation, a constitutional right, had not been adequately respected.

“The constitution accords us the right to have our say in such matters,” Senator Omtatah stated firmly. “However, the chief officer’s office has failed to facilitate meaningful engagement with the public, even if no guarantee is given that each individual’s views will be taken into account.”

The Senator went on to criticize the selective nature of the public participation process, where only a limited group of county government stakeholders were invited to a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 17.

“The letter targeting institutions has very limited reach and cannot substitute for formal advertisements placed in the print media, TV, and radio,” he argued.

Omtatah also raised concerns about the short notice given to those invited to the meeting and the absence of provisions for submitting written memoranda by those unable to attend in person.

He also lamented the lack of comprehensive studies showing the viability of the proposed stadium’s location and the absence of alternatives.

“The 95-acre ATC land was reserved for a public purpose,” Omtatah explained. “This purpose, which includes establishing a university of agriculture or other excellence-centered agricultural institutions, still stands.”

He stressed that no feasibility studies had been conducted regarding the relocation and expressed doubts about the availability of funds for the ambitious project, given the current budget constraints.

Only Ksh.80 million was allocated to the project in the current County Budget, with an additional Ksh.100 million earmarked for renovations in the 2022/2023 First Supplementary Budget.

Omtatah highlighted the need for a professionally done spatial plan for Busia Town, approved by the County Assembly, with effective public participation.

He pointed to what he saw as an “obsession” of the current county administration with projects that do not address the priority livelihood needs of the people but exhaust county budgets for the benefit of a few well-connected contractors and individuals.

In addition, Omtatah voiced concerns about the project’s financial sustainability, noting that the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) allocated only Ksh.600 million for the stadium’s construction, with limited allocations in subsequent Annual Development Plans.

“These are glaring indicators of a white elephant project in the making that will undoubtedly misuse public funds,” Omtatah cautioned, “benefiting a few contractors and their godfathers.”

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In a surprising revelation, Omtatah mentioned that the Busia Agricultural Training Centre Board of Management was unaware of the proposed stadium relocation.

“Under the law, absolutely nothing can be done, including land use, without the involvement and approval of the Board,” he stressed.


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